clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Every Jeff Fisher Draft Pick Ever: A Draft History Lesson

New, comments

Every year teams use the NFL Draft in hopes to improve their team to take them to the next level. How has Jeff Fisher used the draft to help his offenses? Does he really favor defense with his draft picks? About to embark on his 21st draft as Head Coach, let's look back at the last 20.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Some fans here are somewhat familiar with Jeff Fisher's draft history and the territorial stereotypes that come with a Fisher draft. For those new fans who may be unfamiliar, let me give you an overview of how your Los Angeles Rams Head Coach has fared with each of his 20 drafts. READ: This is not meant to be an assessment of quality of each draft class or draft pick but a familiarization in how he has been equipped and attacked the NFL Draft. For those who think they have Fisher pegged, maybe we'll uncover a few surprises.

Using this chart here, we can see every one of the 37 draft selections the Rams have made under Jeff Fisher since his first season in which he famously pulled off the RG3 trade.

Position QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S K Total
Selections 2 5 5 0 9 2 2 3 5 3 1 37

That's an average of 9 picks each draft. They were most active in 2014 with 11 selections and only had 7 in the 2013 draft, which has been the least to this point. (Rams currently hold 6 draft picks for 2016)

Now looking at his time in Tennessee, we can see each of his drafts from when he was with them(Note: 1995 was his first full season, 2010 draft was his last).

    Position
    QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S Total
    Selections 4 14 22 7 20 16 11 17 21 15 147
    2003's draft class consisted of the least amount of picks in any one draft for his career(6) while 2004 had the most picks in any one draft (13).  Here is the total positional breakdown of all draft selections made under Fisher's reign with Rams and Titans.
    Position QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S K Total
    Selections 6 19 27 7 29 18 13 20 26 18 1 184
    It's evident by the numbers that the secondary has a special place in Fisher's heart, which isn't surprising considering he was a defensive back himself. In somewhat of a surprise, WR leads all specific positions. For as much as it seems Fisher favors the defensive line to the offensive line, the DL just barely nudged out the OL in terms of draft picks used. Running back gets drafted, on average, slightly less than once a year. Overall, defense gets the slight nod over offense in terms of priority with a 95-88 tally.

    Now that was a very basic overview of positions drafted. To get an idea of how Jeff Fisher values each one of those I've also compiled a list of which round each one of those position groups were selected in. But first let's familiarize ourselves with how many picks Fisher has held in each round.

    Round 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
    Selections 20 22 29 34 22 24 33

    That's one 1st round draft pick for each year he has been drafting. Though, he did not have a 1st round pick in the 2001 and 2004 drafts. The bulk of the selections come in rounds 3-4 with the most picks coming in the 4th and 7th round due primarily to compensatory picks. Now onto the round by round breakdown of each position group:

    Round QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S K
    1st 2 3 3 1 3 3 2 2 1
    2nd 3 3 1 3 5 2 4 1
    3rd 1 3 6 4 3 1 1 3 6 1
    4th 6 1 6 4 2 5 5 5
    5th 1 3 2 4 3 3 2 4
    6th 2 2 5 1 4 2 1 3 2 1
    7th 5 2 8 3 2 6 4 4
    Total 6 19 27 7 29 18 13 20 26 18 1
    The defense edges out the offense 11-9 in terms of 1st round draft picks. The only position Fisher has never taken in round 1 is TE. Hard to believe but only 6 first round defensive lineman in 20 years. Fisher has taken first round CBs just two times, but loves to spread the wealth throughout the rest of the rounds and he hasn't been a fan of safeties before the 3rd day of the draft. There has been plenty invested in WR between rounds 1-4 having taken 18 of them, most of any position during those rounds(OL,DE next highest with 13). Other than the 4th round, his love for RBs is spread pretty evenly throughout the draft. Both QBs that Fisher selected in round 1 were during his time with TEN and both were the 3rd overall draft pick(Steve McNair 1996 & Vince Young 2006).

    Take a walk down narrative street with me for a second.....Fisher has taken his only round 1 QBs in a year that ended in "6", 10 years apart.... What year is it? The Rams need a QB? If we want to stroll even further down narrative street, you may have noticed I noted that both McNair and Young were the 3rd overall picks. This year the Cleveland Browns, picking 2nd, have been earmarked to take a QB by many. Some of those many also wonder if this is the year the Dallas Cowboys, picking 4th, address their QB position for the future. In a QB draft class that  some consider to have a significant drop-off after the top two QB prospects, this storybook ending is almost too good to be true. I personally don't buy this narrative too much and I doubt Fisher has thought about it this much either, but then again, this is a franchise that likes to write rookie contracts to include palindromes "because its fun". (Sorry but if Kevin Demoff can have fun writing contracts I can ramble about an absurd, coincidental scenario for a paragraph)

    MOVING ON

    Keeping it recent with his time with the Rams, Jeff Fisher has kept his first round draft picks extremely balanced. Since using his first ever Rams draft pick on Michael Brockers in 2012, Fisher has alternated 1st round picks between defense and offense every selection.

    2012 14 DT Michael Brockers
    2013 8 WR Tavon Austin
    2013 30 LB Alec Ogletree
    2014 2 OT Greg Robinson
    2014 13 DT Aaron Donald
    2015 10 RB Todd Gurley

    Based off that short history, we could guess that 2016's 1st round pick should be defense if the Rams decide to keep it status quo. But coming off a season in which the Rams had the worst offense yardage wise, it may be time to break the chain. Also, that is 5 top 15 picks since taking over with Rams four seasons ago. He had 5 top 15 picks in 16 years with Tennessee. With those top 15 picks he has selected the 5 players in the above table, McNair, Young, RB Eddie George, DT Albert Haynesworth, and CB Adam Jones.

    Jeff Fisher doesn't buck his trends too often when it comes to his drafts but he has done it before. Just as recently as 2014, Fisher had never selected an offensive lineman in the 1st round until he used the 2nd overall pick on Greg Robinson. If Robinson doesn't turn it around here soon, it may be another 20 years until Fisher decides to select an OL in the 1st.

    Fisher has also only used successive 1st or 2nd round picks in one draft on offense on two separate occasions. The first was in 2006 when he took Vince Young and RB LenDale White with his 1st and 2nd rounders. The other instance was just this past year in 2015 when RB Todd Gurley and OT Rob Havenstein went in the 1st and 2nd, respectively. Its another trend, or lack thereof, that may be addressed again in 2016. The 2015 draft provided another first for Fisher when the Rams selected 7 straight offensive players. Prior to last year the longest streak of players selected on one side of the ball was in 2002 when the Titans selected 6 straight defensive players to lead off that draft class.

    One major aspect to the NFL draft has been trades, something that the Rams have been very active with since Fisher took over. Since 1995 Fisher's teams have completed 38 trades that involved a draft pick.(23 w/ Titans, 15 w/ Rams). Here are all 15 such trades while with the Rams. (NOTE: * denotes pick received by Rams but selection was made by different team)

2012

  • IND sends 2014 7th rd [241](S Christian Bryant) in exchange for CB Josh Gordy
  • NE sends 2015 7th rd [249](LB Akeem King)* in exchange for WR Greg Salas
  • WAS sends 1st rd [6](CB Morris Claiborne)*, 2nd rd [39](CB Janoris Jenkins), 2013 1st rd [22] CB Desmond Trufant)*, and 2014 1st rd [2](OT Greg Robinson) in exchange for 1st rd [2](QB Robert Griffin III)
  • DAL sends 1st rd [14](DT Michael Brockers) and 2nd rd [45](WR Alshon Jeffery)* in exchange for 1st rd [6](CB Morris Claiborne)
  • CHI sends 2nd rd [50](RB Isaiah Pead) and 5th rd [150](OG Rokevious Watkins) in exchange for 2nd rd [45](WR Alshon Jeffery)
2013
  • BUF sends 1st rd [8](WR Tavon Austin) and 3rd rd [71](S TJ McDonald) in exchange for 1st rd [16](QB EJ Manuel), 2nd rd [46](LB Kiko Alonso), 3rd rd [78](WR Marquise Goodwin), and 7th rd [222](TE Chris Gragg)
  • ATL sends 1st rd [30](LB Alec Ogletree), 3rd rd [92](WR Stedman Bailey), and 6th rd [198](DT Chris Jones)* in exchange for 1st rd [22](CB Desmond Trufant) and 2015 7th rd [249](LB Akeem King)
  • HOU sends 5th rd [160](RB Zac Stacy) in exchange for 6th rd [184](TE Mychal Rivera) and 6th rd [198](DT Chris Jones)

2014

  • BUF sends 2nd rd [41](CB Lamarcus Joyner) in exchange for 2nd rd [44](OT Cyrus Kouandijo) and 5th rd [153](OG Cyril Richardson)
  • TB sends S Mark Barron in exchange for 2015 4th rd [109](S Clayton Geathers) and 2015 6th rd [184](WR Kaelin Clay)

2015

  • HOU sends QB Case Keenum in exchange for 2016 7th rd [239]
  • PHI sends QB Nick Foles, 4th rd [119](OT Andrew Donnal), and 2016 2nd rd [43] in exchange for QB Sam Bradford
  • CAR sends 2nd rd [57](OT Rob Havenstein), 3rd rd [89](QB Sean Mannion), and 6th rd [201](WR Bud Sasser) in exchange for 2nd rd [41](WR Devin Funchess)
  • NYJ sends 7th rd [224](LB Bryce Hager) in exchange for RB Zac Stacy
  • BAL sends future 7th rd(TBD) in exchange for WR Chris Givens
That is quite a bit to process but as you can see, in four short years the Rams and Jeff Fisher have been active. Here is a chart to breakdown the types of trades he as made with both teams.

Type of Trade

Team Trade Up Trade Down Picks for Vet Vet for Picks Total
Rams 3 5 5 2 15
Titans 6 8 6 3 23
Total 9 13 10 6 38


A quick look shows that trading down in the draft has happened most frequently while there is a clear preference for trading away veteran players and moving down in the draft to acquire as many picks as possible. Note: I classified the Bradford trade as "picks for vet"

Now that we've gotten familiar with every Fisher draft pick and trade tendency, what does it all mean? To recap, Fisher loves the secondary, early round defensive lineman, trading down, collecting WRs, and drafts 1st round QBs every 10 years.


The Rams have a number of needs heading into the 2016 draft and it shouldn't surprise anyone to see Jeff Fisher go in any direction with the first draft of the new Los Angeles Rams. Trying to guess exactly what he will do is like a game of roulette. At least now you've been informed of every single spin Fisher has rolled since becoming a head coach.